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With a painting in the background, Robert Armetta speaks to the gathered audience about his gallery Interiority, which is now featured at Messiah’s Aughinbaugh Art Gallery

By Tamara Carter
Student Writer

Many eager students crowded outside Aughinbaugh Art Gallery to hear what guest artist Robert Armetta had to say about his solo exhibition, Interiority on Friday afternoon.

Armetta’s collection of modern realist paintings depicts everyday people just as they are so that viewers may connect with his work on a personal level.

“I enjoyed looking at the paintings because of the themes of human suffering…through the artist talk, I realized how his intentional techniques illuminated the thoughts behind his paintings,”said Abigail McBride, a sophomore English major.

Throughout his talk, Armetta described the tedious process of how he achieved “transparency in the shadows”of his paintings. He discussed his inspiration drawn from the likes of Eugene Carriere and Rembrandt because of their use of opaque light and transparent shadows that is “so obvious”, yet so masterful.

In his PowerPoint presentation, he showed the many steps it took for him to reach the balance of opacity and transparency. His paintings required many layers and many months to meet completion.

When asked about the deeper meaning behind the title of his exhibition, Interiority, Armetta began to cry and stepped behind a partition to compose himself. He said that it is an opportunity for him to elevate the common person.

“It is monumental for the model that someone took the time and care enough to get at his personality,” he said on his work.

Armetta said he appreciates how things look and how things are made and as he worked on this series, enjoyed spending time with the head in order to get to the subject’s personality, the model’s inner workings, rather than “what the model thought he looked like.”

“I didn’t want to intentionally beautify the models. I tried not to idealize what the paintings would be so as to avoid distillation. I tell the models as little as possible,” Armetta said.

He wants viewers to look at his paintings and feel a connection. Armetta accomplished this in the way he painted the gaze of his subjects.

“I want you to feel that they are looking at you,” he explained.

Armetta was brought in by the gallery committee that is always looking for a variety of shows.

“Robert’s work is so beautifully personal. He’s a true believer, an artist who is taking the old traditionand making it modern,” said Kathy Hettinga, Messiah College Distinguished Professor of Art and Design.

Interiority will be showing from now until Nov. 21 in the Aughinbaugh Art Gallery.

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